Physician Health & Safety

Physician health and safety: 2022 PMA Memorandum of Agreement

Physician%20physical%20and%20psychological%20safetyEnsuring the physical and psychological safety of doctors in their workplaces is imperative to provide the best care possible to patients. To this end, Doctors of BC has taken significant action to improve workplace safety through the Memorandum of Agreement on Physical/Psychological Safety, referred to as the Physician Health and Safety Agreement (the PHS Agreement). Renewed in the 2022 Physician Master Agreement, the PHS Agreement continues to provide physicians with the opportunity to be included in widespread systemic change to better support physical and psychological health and safety in the workplace. 

A summary report has been developed that outlines the background and preliminary work underway as a result of the 2019 PHS Agreement. This important work created the foundation to support our work ahead, and led to elements that have been formalized through the 2022 PHS Agreement.

In April 2024, the second annual Physician Health and Safety Summit was held in which health care partners under the PHS Agreement came together to build on existing commitments to physician safety and foster in-person collaboration and community-building. This event provided the opportunity for almost 100 physicians and representatives from the Ministry of Health, health authorities, SWITCH BC, the Physician Health Program, and Doctors of BC to discuss planning and priorities to improve physician physical and psychological safety. 

On this page

What you've told us
The 2022 PHS Agreement
Who to contact if you experience a safety issue
Work under the Physician Health and Safety Agreement
Doctors of BC policy on workplace safety

What you've told us

Doctors of BC is acutely aware of physical and psychological safety concerns in the physician workplace. Results from the 2023 Health Authority Engagement Survey show that 1 in 2 physicians continue to report being involved in or impacted by a physical and psychological safety incident, and 39% report experiencing the incident in the preceding 12 months.

The 2022 PHS Agreement

New in the 2022 PHS Agreement are expanded supports to review issues, approve activities, and engage health authorities and community physicians on physician health and safety. This includes:

  • Increased funding to $2M per year over the term of the Agreement (2022-2025)
  • Expanded scope to address health and safety for community physicians through a new oversight working group supported by SWITCH BC

The 2022 PHS Agreement also formalizes structures created through the 2019 Agreement to continue work on enhancing and improving physical and psychological safety in the workplace. Through these structures, the working groups and SWITCH BC aim to provide advice and recommendations, as well as engage on matters of importance to physician health and safety. Work includes reviewing policies and procedures on topics such as exposure management, contact tracing, incident reporting, violence prevention training, enabling feedback loops, and more.


Provincial Physician Health and Safety Working Group

(PPHSWG) - A joint provincial committee/working group between the Ministry of Health, health authorities, and Doctors of BC that serves as the engagement and consultation forum for health and safety issues at a provincial level. This group provides advice and recommendations to the Ministry of Health, Physician Medical Services Executive Committee (PMSEC), and the Regional Health and Safety Working Groups. Based upon a recommendation by this group for a uniform provincial process for OHS data collection for physicians, MS WHITE is being implemented to help support individual physicians when issues occur and identify trends in hazards and risks. Learn more in the Overview and FAQ documents.

Regional Physician Health and Safety Working Groups

(RPHSWGs) - Established within each Health Authority and comprised of Doctors of BC physician representatives, Regional Advisors and Advocates, and staff from Health Authority Medical Affairs and the Occupational Health and Safety department. Each Regional Physician Health and Safety Working Group engages on matters of importance regarding regional physician health and safety to develop activities, projects, and initiatives that can be funded under the Agreement.

Physician Health & Safety Advisory Group

(PHSAG) - An internal group, comprised of Doctors of BC physician representatives and Doctors of BC staff, that aims to provide updates to and plan/prioritize ideas for the Provincial Physician Health and Safety Working Group and each Regional Working Group.

NEW Community Physician Health and Safety Oversight Group

(CPHSOG) - The newest component to the 2022 Agreement, this group supports physicians working in the community to meet their obligations regarding occupational health and safety, psychological and physical health and safety, violence prevention, and creating and maintaining safe work environments. A recent and initial result of this work, supported by SWITCH BC, is the development of the Community Physician Health and Safety Guide

Physician Violence Prevention Working Group

(PVPWG) - This group focuses on the implementation and evaluation of violence prevention training for physicians. The accredited online module Physician Violence Prevention is currently available. A refresh of this module is in progress along with additional in-person training for physicians in high-risk areas. 

Who to contact if you experience a safety issue

In addition to the work of the above structures, individual physicians can be supported by – and are encouraged to connect with – their local Regional Advisor and Advocate when they encounter issues of physical or psychological health and safety, or if they have been involved or impacted by a past event. 

Work under the Physician Health and Safety Agreement

Several regional and provincial projects and activities have been completed with many currently underway that seek solutions to creating systemic change and that create opportunities for physicians to raise and provide input into health and safety issues and processes. Here are completed and current projects by Health Authority.


For further information specific to your region, please contact your Regional Advisor and Advocate.

Doctors of BC policy on workplace safety

Supporting BC physicians in their pursuit of workplace health and safety has become an increasingly important priority for Doctors of BC. Our work in this area includes our 2017 policy statement Promoting Psychological Safety for Physicians, our 2016 policy statement Preventing Violence in Healthcare, and local initiatives established via the Divisions of Family Practice and Medical Staff Associations.

For Doctors of BC resources on physician health and safety, please visit our Physician Health & Safety webpage.